Re: Pretty laughable to think...
As I understand it, the electric car subsidies came way after Musk had founded Tesla and got it off the ground. He may have been successful at lobbying for them, or they may have come along at the right time to save his bacon (mmmm baaacon) - but that's a different matter.
SpaceX is another matter though. He took a susbidy to get some R&D done - and he promptly did that R&D. Something some of our defence contractors could certainly learn from. So he showed determination in order to pursue his goal, and navigate the legal and bureaucratic maze to get where he wanted.
He then took a government contract to do a thing and did the thing. That's not a subsidy by the way, there's a huge difference. He also did the thing cheaper than everyone else, and with 100% success rate so far. The ISS has got its dinner within a reasonable margin of error (for space launches) every time. And he's never blown their Christmas presents up and scattered them over a launchpad (trashing it in the process), or just blown up and fallen into the sea.
Admittedly he has blown up some sea and dented a barge a few times, but that was strictly on his own time, and his own barge...
Now he's taken another NASA subsidy to do some R&D on a manned capsule. Is anyone here willing to bet against him getting that to work?
Note he's also taken a smaller subsidy for the same job as ULA, so yet again he's going to come out cheaper than the competition. Isn't he even going to come out cheaper than Soyuz (at least what the Russians are charging NASA per launch)? Even if not, Soyuz is looking a little less reliable at the moment, what with the deterioration in relations with Russia, and the recent spate of problems with the Russian space industry. My suspicion is that they've cut spending, while cronyism and corruption have increased, but it may only be one of those two.
The thing that does make you wonder about SpaceX though, is how few commercial launches they get. Obviously the commercial sector is going to want a nice track record - in particular for insurance. But given the reported lower costs, you could probably afford a few oopses, and so far the only payload he's lost was blown up because NASA made him, as a secondary launch on an ISS flight where a launch delay meant they didn't like the flightpath being too near to the ISS.